For the second year in a row, a true freshman start a season opener on UCLA’s offensive line.
After enrolling in spring, four-star recruit NaJee Toran is on track to start at right guard. In 2013, it was Alex Redmond who began the season there — though injuries eventually pushed two other first-year players into the starting five. Redmond is slated to start at left guard as a sophomore.
Toran has taken the bulk of first-team reps on the opposite side over the last week, and based on his conversations with offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, he expects to be in the starting lineup when the Bruins face Virginia on Aug. 30.
“A big possibility,” Toran said. “Just keep playing like I am, that’s where I’ll be at, most likely.” Continue reading →
Myles Jack didn’t realize how just how far his name could carry a story.
On Monday, UCLA head coach Jim Mora tossed his star linebacker from practice at Cal State San Bernardino after the sophomore had an altercation with offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch. Jack slapped Benenoch in the helmet and taunted him, but the incident looked like a run-of-the-mill, mid-training camp tiff.
But given that it involved a player who successfully starred out on both sides of the ball last season, the headlines multiplied quickly.
“The platform that I guess I’m on, I’ve really got to watch out what I say or do,” Jack said Wednesday. Continue reading →
» Despite Devin Lucien being sidelined by a head injury, UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone wasn’t concerned with the state of his receiving corps.
“I don’t look at this like, ‘Hey, these three guys are starters. These three guys are backups,’” he said Wednesday. “I’ve got about six guys out there that are all starters in my eyes. They kind of roll in, do their deal.”
Lucien finished his sophomore season strong, catching for 208 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Bruins’ last five games. Without him lined up at outside, fellow camp standout Eldridge Massington would likely move into the starting lineup.
Junior Logan Sweet, who had three catches last year, also got first-team reps on Wednesday morning. Starting receiver Jordan Payton has practiced mostly at inside receiver the last few days due to other injuries, which helped open up a spot for Sweet.
“He’s really came a long ways from two years ago, when he first got here,” Mazzone said of Sweet. “He really figures into those top four or five guys at the outside for us.”
» Freshman quarterback Aaron Sharp participated in his first full practice after joining the team last night. Given how light the morning session was, however, the lefty didn’t get a chance to show off his arm. Continue reading →
Another week, another Sports Illustrated cover. Brett Hundley landed at the front of the magazine once again, this time as part of SI’s college preview.
Two weeks ago, Hundley was featured on a regional cover teasing a Lee Jenkins’ feature story — an appearance that already had teammates calling him “SI.”
The coming issue will be the 127th time that a Bruin has appeared on a Sports Illustrated cover. Other versions of this week’s SI magazine feature Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight, Alabama’s Amari Cooper, and Florida State’s Jameis Winston.
Online sportsbook Bovada.lv also released odds for various college football stats this morning. Brett Hundley’s over/under stat line looks quite reasonable: 3019.5 passing yards, 604.5 rushing yards, and 33.5 combined passing and rushing touchdowns.
As a redshirt sophomore last season, Hundley passed for 3071 yards, rushed for 748, and scored 35 touchdowns — including 11 on the ground.
After suffering being taken to the hospital for a head injury Tuesday night, UCLA receiver Devin Lucien received good news.
A source confirmed that Lucien is “doing well,” and will be back on the Cal State San Bernardino campus tonight. The junior wideout hit his head on the ground trying to make a catch, though he was able to make his way off the field to the trainer’s tent under his own power.
The Bruins begin practicing again at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, followed by another session at 5:45 p.m. All practices in San Bernardino are open to the public.
UCLA true freshman quarterback Aaron Sharp made his first appearance in Southern California on Tuesday. The three-star recruit from Humble, Texas was expected to remain home until Aug. 31 due to rules violations, but jogged onto the sideline an hour and a half after practice began on Tuesday.
The 6-3, 190-pound dual-threat quarterback, who was originally committed to Kansas State before flipping to the Bruins in January, flew in from Houston but not in time to participate in any drills Tuesday.